8 Tips for Women Who Aren’t Ready to Retire
There’s a great article in the New York Times that talks about how women typically live longer than men, yet often retire at an earlier age. The piece is based on a research paper written by Nicole Maestas, a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School. While both are worth reading, they provoke an important question for women: what if you’re not ready to retire?
Women over fifty are more likely to encounter a variety of personal and professional obstacles that make staying in the workplace more difficult. This includes things like:
- Caregiving obligations
- Age discrimination
- Poor health
- Pressure from a spouse
It’s still an unfortunate reality that gender inequality in the workplace still disproportionately affects women over men. This means women are typically paid less, laid off first, and hired less often than men. These problems are magnified for women over fifty years old.
The good news, however, is that there are things you can do if you’re a woman in your “encore” years who wants to keep working.
Tips For Staying In The Workplace
So what should you do if you’re a woman over fifty and aren’t ready to retire? Here are eight suggestions:
1) Focus on skill building: If you don’t have the skills required for a particular job or industry, make learning them a priority. You can look for training anywhere from a local library to community colleges and online courses. Taking classes or getting certified can strengthen your resumé.
2) Get in shape: You don’t need to be able to run a five-minute mile, but if you exude a vibrancy and energy that comes from being in shape, that will help convince employers you’re not running out of gas.
3) Ask for referrals: Your online resumé won’t get you hired; an interview will. Make it your goal to connect with anyone who can get you in the door for a face-to-face meeting. Referred candidates are twice as likely to get interviews and 40% more likely to be hired than other candidates.
4) Promote your age as a feature, not a bug: Rather than trying to hide or downplay your age, embrace it. Advertise your extensive experience, expertise, and leadership qualities to prospective employers.
5) Start your own business: If you’re meeting heavy resistance looking for a job, why not create your own? Consider starting a consulting business, freelancing, or going all-in on building your own company. Generating an income from a variety of sources has never been easier or more accessible.
6) Try something new: If you’re struggling to find work in industries you’re familiar with, consider a wholesale change. There’s a good chance that your existing skills and experience can be utilized in ways you may not have considered before.
7) Consider volunteering: Volunteering for a nonprofit is a great way to keep your existing skills sharp and also develop new ones. There’s also a chance that your volunteering gig could turn into a paid position down the road.
8) Hire a career coach: Getting professional help with your job search can be just the right shot in the arm you need. You can work in person with a local career coach, or virtually with someone online.
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